NHL postpones 2 Islanders amid COVID-19 outbreak

NHL postpones 2 Islanders amid COVID-19 outbreak

The NHL has postponed two more games due to coronavirus-related reasons, making it five games so far this season.

The New York Islanders’ upcoming games on Sunday at the Rangers and Tuesday at the Philadelphia Flyers were postponed after additional members of the squad went into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Saturday.

General manager Lou Lamoreello said striker Casey Sisikas has become the latest player to test positive. The islanders would have had up to eight unavailable players.

The association said that the possibility of additional spread contributed to the cancellation of the matches of the islanders until at least Tuesday, for the time being. Chezekas joined captain Anders Lee, fellow striker Ross Johnston, Kiefer Bellos, defenders Zdino Chara, Adam Bellick and Andy Green in the protocol, and winger Josh Bailey only recently resumed skiing after his dismissal.

Lamoreello said as recently as Wednesday that none of the players who tested positive for the virus had tested negative to clear the way for a comeback. It will take three consecutive days of negative testing to reopen the team’s training facilities and restart play. The entire team of islanders has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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While Lamoreello said on Saturday he had not requested postponements from the league’s office, the absence and injury to defender Ryan Bullock made things very difficult for New York. The handicapped Islanders fell 1-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Friday night, in their eighth straight defeat.

“We kind of break it down,” coach Barry Trotz said afterwards. “Young men who entered, they are doing what they can. … They are doing the job they can do. There is no one who is not trying now.”

The NHL postponed three games at the Ottawa Senators in mid-November due to that team’s virus outbreak. One of those games, in the New Jersey Devils, has been rescheduled to December 6.

Ottawa 0-3-0 since play resumed and put goalkeeper Matt Murray on concessions on Saturday. Murray allowed four goals on 27 shots in Wednesday’s loss, and it was his only start since he was activated from the COVID-19 roster.

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When the NHL agreed to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the league and the NHL Players Association added the warning that they could withdraw based on the circumstances of the pandemic. It would take a significant amount of delays to cause an NHL/NHLPA withdrawal to materially disrupt the season that would require a 2 1/2 week Olympic break in February to make up matches.

The league and players have until January 10 to withdraw without a financial penalty. Canada appointed Claude Julien as a coach for two international tournaments in December as part of a potential Plan B if the NHL does not participate in the Olympics.

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